WELL, THAT HAPPENED: Program Glut

By on September 22, 2015

How to find peace with your Netflix account

Elliot (Rami Malek) in ‘Mr. Robot.’ (Photo: USA Networks)

Elliot (Rami Malek) in ‘Mr. Robot.’ (Photo: USA Networks)

“Have you seen ‘Sense 8?’”

“Are you caught up with ‘Mad Men?’”

“Did you see ‘Game of Thrones’ last night?”

If you’re like me, questions like these are beginning to cause anxiety. It seems like no matter how much time I put aside, I can’t seem to get on board with all the shows my friends are watching. It seems like whenever I finish up a season, eight more new shows spring up and I’m immediately overwhelmed.

According to research done by FX Networks, by the end of the year, there will have been more than 400 scripted primetime television shows in 2015 alone. That doesn’t include sports shows, children’s shows, talk shows, reality television, etc. Unless you’re bedridden and have no responsibilities whatsoever, there’s a good chance you’re never going to be able to catch up with even one-eighth of those shows. Sorry, chum.

The demand for quality TV shows has skyrocketed dramatically in recent years. Even Netflix, which just three years ago only offered “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” as original programming, now has 29 ongoing series for both adults and children.

It’s impossible to not hear about good shows. Whether fantastic reviews for shows like “Empire” and “How To Get Away With Murder,” or energetic fan-hype for “Game of Thrones,” we always seem to need to add yet another show to our lists. The problem is that by the time these shows begin to win Emmy Awards or Golden Globes, the show will have already extinguished at least one season of 13-plus episodes.

On Sunday, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” won Outstanding Drama Series, and made history by winning the most Emmy Awards in a single night with 12 awards. But those who have held off from watching the show are now less inclined to jump on board now that the show has gone through five seasons. That’s 50 hour-long episodes to catch up on before the season six premiere in Spring 2016.

Right now, I have a whopping 16 multi-season TV shows saved on my Netflix and HBO Now watchlists that I have not yet started. Some part of me knows that I’ll never be able to catch up with everything that I want to, because while I do want to go back and watch all five seasons of “Six Feet Under,” I am also trying to catch up with the first season of “Mr. Robot” while tuning into “Project Runway” every Thursday. Oh and I also have to finish watching “Narcos.”

This experience might not be so different from your own. We all have a desire to keep up with the times and be as knowledgeable about current trends as others, but there comes a point when 400 shows currently in their first or 16th season are impossible to catch up on. So what do we do? Well, I’m so glad you asked.

I’ve come up with a flawless three-step plan that will help you lose excess TV shows and make you feel lighter and better than ever.

Step one: Purge

Whittle down your Netflix/Amazon/HBO/Hulu/DVR list to six items. That includes movies, stand-up specials and documentaries. Do this by asking yourself, “Will I find this again?” And get rid of all the things you said “yes” to. Including “Doctor Who.” (You’re never going to watch it, so stop trying.)

Step two: Bail

If you’re not enjoying a show within the first two episodes or first 20 minutes, bail! You don’t have time to suffer through bad entertainment. Don’t waste your time, and don’t let Joseph the Neckbeard convince you to watch “Game of Thrones” if you don’t enjoy beheadings.

Step three: Shut up

Feel free to let your friends know that you’re “absolutely loving this new show,” but stop convincing them to watch it. “You have to see it,” shall no longer be in your vocabulary. I was a “LOST” obsessive and convinced way too many friends to watch it. Guess who they blamed when the finale sucked?

So there you have it. There’s some great entertainment out there, but it’s best to find something that speaks to your own interests. Accept the fact that you’ll never be able to catch up, and you just might find peace and oneness with your Netflix account. PJH

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